Guide for those looking for a project partner

International cooperation can enrich your project and allow you to look at your past and planned activities in a different way and learn about other methods of work and solving social problems.

Moreover, one of the important objectives of the EEA Funds is to strengthen bilateral relations between Poland (one of the Beneficiary States) and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland (the Donor States). Therefore, organizations that prepare projects in partnership with entities in Donor States (civil society organizations, companies, public institutions) may apply for an additional amount (up to EUR 5 000 for a small grant, up to EUR 12 500 for a large grant, and up to EUR 12 500 for sectoral projects) to cover the costs of Partner/s’ participation and bilateral cooperation in the project. This amount does not depend on the number of Partners in Donor States and can be used for activities such as:

  • study visits for representatives of organizations from Poland to Donor States and/or representatives of entities from Donor States to Poland,
  • involving a trainer/coach/expert from the Donor States, to conduct for example training/seminars/facilitation of a process,
  • hiring an expert/expert from the Donor States to prepare an expert opinion and/or analysis on a project-related topic,
  • job shadowing (observing the working methods of another organization) in an entity in the Donor State,
  • joint workshops for representatives from Donor States and Poland, which take place in Poland, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • joint workshop/consultations between of organizations from Poland and Donor States in Poland, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • joint preparation (also remote/online) of a report, comparative analysis, lesson plan, etc.

The above list is not closed, and is intended to give examples.

What to keep in mind when starting cooperation with a foreign partner

  1. Think about what kind of project partner you are looking for and what kind of activities you want to be responsible for in the project. Remember that it does not always have to be an organization that is a mirror image of your organization. Sometimes it is worthwhile to think about what competence/knowledge/experience your organization lacks to implement your dream project and on this basis start looking for a partner. Don’t worry too much about its legal form – in the Active Citizens Fund – National programme, a partner from a Donor State can be a social organization or it can be a company, public institution or even local government/municipal authority. Do not forget to think about your organization’s strong points and what it can share with your partner in return.

Here is a tip – many organizations’ approach to looking for a partner for a project is: we deal with X, we are good at Y, we are lacking Z, and exactly the same organization is looking for a partner. However, we recommend that you also try to find a project partner that will complement your activities, your competences etc..

According to this approach, your project partner can also learn something from you and you learn from your partner at the same time.

Here is an example of such a partnership:

“At the beginning we wanted to find an organization that, like us, specializes in the subject of support for people with sensory disabilities and accessibility – Anna Nawrot from the Transgression Foundation says about her experience – However, as the project concept developed, our project moved more in the media direction and we decided to find a partner who has experience in this field. That was the point! We found an organization in Norway specializing in new media and it turned out that we were a very attractive partner for them, because we could teach them a lot about disability. This was also beneficial for us, because the production and promotion of professional media was something completely new for us.”

  1. After the above “examination of conscience”, it is time to begin the search. There are plenty of portals that will help with this. We recommend the following:


However, if you prefer to have a consultation on this matter, we encourage you to contact our bilateral and regional coordinator – Anna Fedas – [email protected], tel. (+48) 22 536 02 41.

  1. Once you have found a suitable organization, write/ call it as soon as possible (preferably in English, unless you know the language of the organization’s country or know that a Polish speaker works there). Do not forget the following:

– describe your organization and your project idea briefly;

– explain why this is the organization/institution/company you are proposing a partnership for the project and what you find interesting in their activity/experience;

– explain the rules of the Programme (remember – each EEA programme in each country is specific and is slightly different, deadlines for a call for proposals and rules are different; do not expect for example that  all Norwegians will know the rules of the EEA Funds);

– propose tasks for which the partner will be responsible and expectations regarding their execution (deadline, duration of involvement, etc.). If they are negotiable and you are open to devising them together with your partner, point this out – not everything is obvious, or always obvious. Working styles vary greatly and depend on many factors – for example, types of activity, but also cultural factors. Therefore, the more specifically and honestly you express your expectations, the less risk of misunderstanding and disappointment there is. If you want to know more about cultural differences and working styles – we recommend watching our webinars about bilateral cooperation.

– encourage your partner to join the partnership by highlighting, for example, what co-creation can give the partner, what competences they can gain, what they can learn, what change they can contribute to.

  1. If the organization shows an interest in the project, it is important to establish the next steps to implement the project, the frequency of calls/ online meetings, and the way decisions are made in the partnership, so that there is no unnecessary misunderstanding later. Remember that all necessary formalities (the partnership declaration or partnership agreement) will be required in the next steps, so you don’t have to worry about them now. However, if the partner needs to read this documentation now – here are the necessary links:

PL https://aktywniobywatele.org.pl/dla-wnioskodawcow/konkurs-na-projekty-tematyczne

EN https://aktywniobywatele.org.pl/en/for-applicants-and-grant-recipients/call-for-thematic-projects/

We are keeping our fingers crossed for your partnerships!

Frequently asked questions about bilateral cooperation:

QUESTION: At what stage do you need to have partnership documents ready?

What do they consist of?

ANSWER: At the initial application stage for both thematic and sector projects, only the following partner information is required:

– Full name of the Partner (in English)

– City

– Country

– Website

– Legal form (forms of civil society organizations and companies and public institutions are acceptable)

– An explanation of the choice of partner (max. 500 characters with spaces).

At the full application stage, apart from the above information, a partnership declaration will be required (a template is available in the project documentation), and at the moment of signing of the grant agreement a certified copy of the partnership agreement is required (a template will be provided).


Is it necessary to have a foreign partner and are there any additional points for this?


You don’t have to establish a partnership, but if you decide to do so (we encourage you to do so), no additional points will be awarded for them in the call for applications for thematic projects;  there are however additional funds for this cooperation – up to 5 000 euros for a small grant and up to 12500 euros for a large grant. In the call for proposals for sectoral projects, apart from additional funds for cooperation (amounts such as in the call for proposals for thematic projects), there are also additional points for partners.

If you have any further questions/remarks, please contact us at [email protected] or contact directly the bilateral and regional cooperation coordinator Anna Fedas ([email protected]).

We wish you success in establishing bilateral partnerships!


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